Saturday, March 26, 2011

Five things i didn't know about Larry Page

1. He keeps a pulse on goings-on: insisting on approving every new hire — over 30k! to date -- by scanning a compressed version of the candidate's bio data -- going over one set per week and processing them in three or four days!

2. He has 'boundless ambition': he believes failure is when you stop attempting the outrageous --
  “Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it’s very hard to fail completely... That’s the thing that people don’t get.”
(throws quotable quotes).

3. He likes people to 'think big' and make their ideas an order of magnitude more ambitious --

In 2003, Google execs debating setting up overseas engineering offices asked him how quickly he'd like Google to grow:
Page:  “How many engineers does Microsoft have?”
execs: About 25,000
Page: “We should have a million,” (in all seriousness).

4. He can have really far-fetched ideas!

In the early 2000s, Eric Veach, a Google software engineer was working on the early version of Google advertising system. Page was adamant on having a simple system which didn't require users to do anything more than give their credit card number.
During one session, Veach pointed out, not all countries commonly use credit cards.

Page proposed taking payments appropriate to the home country — in Uzbekistan, Google could take its payment in goats. :)

Veach: “Maybe we can get to that, but first let’s make sure we can take Visa and MasterCard.”

5. Both Page & Sergey Brin went to Montessori schools -- characterized by a spirit of freedom in pursuit of one's interests -- a spirit reflected in Page's pursuit of projects with potential to improve quality of life.

-- lifted shamelessly from 'Larry Page Wants to Return Google to Its Startup Roots'
by Steven Levy in Wired Magazine online, April 2011 edition.
 which is a shout out to  "In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives", copyright © 2011 Steven Levy, to be published by Simon & Schuster in April.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Culture of Caring...

Reported to work on a Saturday morning.
The housekeeping staff seemed as surprised to see me as I was to see them.
The weekly mopping, window cleaning, dusting chores taking place. Me
and my team at our desks.

Suddenly we hear a mournful cry in the lane behind us -- it didn't
stop -- a painful slow cry -- as if to rend the air around.

We rushed to see a boy in housekeeping having an obvious fit -- he'd
collapsed and was shaking violently, a secretion from his mouth.

Me and my manager rushed to the admin section to get some medical
attention for the lad -- a very thin and boyish looking chap.

When we requested him to call for a doctor, he tells us that the
housekeeping staff are contractually bound and that their supervisor
would take him to a doctor if he thought fit -- and proceeds to phone
the the contractor to take stock of the situation.

I was a bit appalled at the mindset, which stems from a larger
cultural issue in this organization -- a rot that seeps down from the
Everything here is divided into hierarchies -- if you're a certain
grade of manager, you get the red carpet -- if you're not that grade
of manager -- you might as well be a janitor -- nobody cares.

I was peeved, so I asked this admin chap, 'so if you're not a company
employee you're not entitled to urgent medical attention even if
really required'.

He was perhaps a bit peeved in return -- another cultural issue in the
organization stemming from the top -- you don't argue against
authority here -- just kiss above.

I couldn't help thinking later, there are a lot of cultural issues
here -- that I knew from the start. But I love my work --for the most
part. And I have some really great bosses and colleagues. In short I
like being here.

...but! Is it worth sticking at a place which reduces you to a mere
dispensable! Where you're valued more by your position and your
necessity to a given outcome. And lost in anonymity otherwise.

Is it better to be in a place which values you as a human being,
regardless of your position and prominence, and accords the same basic
dignity and rights to all...